CHANGES in the national death certificate model, which became effective on January 1, are likely to help physicians provide more complete and accurate information, particularly in the "cause-of-death" section, according to Harry M. Rosenberg, MD, chief, Mortality Statistics Branch, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Md.
Officials meet to revise the US Standard Certificate of Death and other vital statistics certificates every 10 years, striving to improve the quality of health statistics, Rosenberg says. They send the revised copies as recommendations to the 50 states.
State officials have the option to accept or reject the changes for their own certificates, although their revisions must be approved by federal officials. Most states already have included many of this year's recommendations in their own certificates, according to George Tolson, a statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics.
Seeking Better Data
Death certificate entries are used to determine death rates by cause,